The sling and the ergo baby carrier were essential.
Nursing? Of course.
Wooden toys? No way was I having my little one suck on plastic.
I really wanted to get it right when I was a mom. I wanted to be always kind, calm and loving. I wanted to correct mistakes my parents made.
Of course I did.
But I had a big mis-perception. It caused a lot of struggle and suffering for me.
I thought that I could just always be (feel) calm and kind. This is how “good” mothers are. I didn’t realize how much judgement was there in that intention. I didn’t realize what it would lead to.
I fought against the “bad” things. I didn’t want anger, fear, anxiety, etc. I didn’t want to feel those feelings because I judged them as “bad.” Then, when I inevitably felt them, I thought I was “bad.”
This was some major wrong-thinking.
I didn’t realize that when we resist our feelings (resist the reality of the present moment), they come back.
The come back bigger. They come back stronger.
And for me, those difficult feelings would eventually pop out in an explosion. Then came the guilt and shame. I was a “bad” mother.
In the Buddhist tradition, this is called “shooting the second arrow.”
We have a feeling that arises. If we practice mindfulness, we can often stop, pay attention, and feel the feeling. It can come and go like clouds in a windy sky.
In fact, neuroscience has shown that feelings actually come and go in an average of 90 seconds.
But not if we shoot the second arrow.
It goes like this: when a feeling arises, we add a layer of judgement onto that feeling, which adds suffering. We think, “I shouldn’t be angry,” “I’m bad for feeling this way,” “I’m weak for feeling anxious,” and so on. This is the second arrow. Our judgement only adds more suffering to the moment.
And the thing that we really need to know as parents is…
Rewind to me as a young mother. Because I couldn’t accept my difficult feelings, I couldn’t accept my daughters’ either.
She’s seven now. She learned from me that her feelings we unacceptable. We are both learning, slowly, to accept even our difficult feelings. It’s not easy.
My daughter and my mindfulness practice taught me this lesson. What a gift that awareness is! Now I can do the work to become aware of my feelings even earlier – before frustration turns to anger.
The heart of loving is acceptance. Loving our children means accepting them fully for who they are. Loving ourselves means fully accepting who we are – all of ourselves.
How can we do this?
Here are 6 ways to practice:
I hope these practices help!
I am so passionate about this because I know that as you and I lift ourselves up, we affect everybody. Peace begins with you. Let’s start the process of making peace with ourselves. Let’s practice to accept ourselves fully. This is a path of self-love. It is the best step you can make to love others with all your heart.
What about you? Do you struggle with accepting your difficult feelings? Please share in the comments below. I’m here to receive your words.
And now for an announcement and more tools to help you:
On November 10th, I will be hosting a 14-Day Virtual Mindfulness Retreat. The goal is to give you the tools of mindfulness before the holidays begin. We will practice peace together. There will be guided audio meditations, video interviews and more. It’s totally free too! Click here to check it out and sign up.
With warmth & lovingkindness,
P.S. Make sure you don’t miss out on anything by signing up for my newsletter! It includes personal insights that I only share in email.Leave a comment
This journey of conscious mothering isn’t easy.
Most of us were raised in an authoritarian culture. This taught us:
However, living and parenting mindfully requires that we:
So, it’s not so easy.Leave a comment
Who is my unlikely yoga teacher & What is this new kind of yoga?
If you have practiced yoga with me in person or through video, you know that my style of teaching is different.
It’s not called Core-Strength vinyasa because we are working towards rock-hard abs.
Core-Strength means that each movement originates in the center of your body and with your breath.
When I discovered it, I went to a workshop given by a yoga rock star. I was skeptical.
I left totally blown away.Leave a comment
The real truth about yoga teachers (at least this one) is that we really need it.
You might be surprised to know that I’m not a naturally calm, zen person. In fact, along with a lot of great stuff, I inherited quite a temper from my parents and ancestors. I came to yoga and meditation because I really needed it.
And I still do.
Last week my 7-year old had a big emotional storm.Leave a comment
I had just had my favorite breakfast of bacon and fresh raspberry pancakes when I read this article in the Times Sunday.
Whoah …so cool!
I share a share a superpower with two greats: media mogul Arianna Huffington and basketball legend Kobe Bryant.